AHS Public Health Update

Short-term Operational Shifts to At-Home/Online Learning
Posted on 09/15/2021
Short-term Operational Shifts to At-Home/Online Learning

Short-term Operational Shifts to At-Home/Online Learning

September 15, 2021


Masking will be mandatory for students in grades 4-12 and staff and teachers in all grades. If a school is able to implement an alternate COVID-19 safety plan and keep all individuals physically distanced by two metres at all times while in an indoor location, they may be exempted from this requirement by the chief medical officer of health. Should you wish to seek an exemption please contact Alberta Health at AH-Operations@gov.ab.ca for further details.

Please note that those school authorities who have already received a school bus masking exemption for the current school year will not need to re-apply for an exemption.


All elementary schools (Kindergarten to Grade 6) will implement class cohorting.

Physical activity in schools

Youth aged 18 and under are not required to mask or maintain two-metre physical distancing during a physical activity such as physical education. There are no restrictions on outdoor activities and indoor sports/performance/recreation/special interests are permitted with requirements for two-metre physical distancing, where possible.

Children’s sport/performance/recreation (extracurricular sports, performance, recreation, and special interest)
•Indoor activities are permitted, with requirements for two-metre physical distancing and masking where possible, and symptom screening for participants.

•Youth aged 18 and under are not required to mask or maintain physical distancing during a physical activity, such as a team sport.

•There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.

Spectator attendance

Spectator attendance is limited to one-third fire code capacity at all indoor physical activities. Attendees must be masked and ensure physical distancing between different households or an individual who lives alone and their two close contacts.
Further guidance with additional details please reference: https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx.

Operational Processes for COVID-19

Shifts to At Home Learning Reporting

As was the case last year, the decision to move a portion of a school, such as individual grades or classes, to at-home or online learning due to operational reasons, such as staffing issues, will continue to be at the discretion of the local school authority and will take into account any public health measures that are in place.

The ability to shift one or more schools or an entire school authority to short-term at-home or online learning for operational reasons requires approval from the Minister. School authorities can submit a request to transition to at-home learning by emailing educationcovidguidance@gov.ab.ca.

A decision for a school authority request will be based on the ability of a school to have staff available to operate in-school classes. The following local contextual factors will be considered in arriving to a final decision:

· An indication of a teaching and/or support staff shortage that prevents a school or multiple schools in the school authority from continuing in-class learning

· A significant number of students are absent

· Relevant COVID-19 related information as provided by Alberta Health Services and/or the school authority

· Substantial COVID-19 cases in the community/region – based on Alberta Health data

Absence Reporting

If there is a school-wide absence rate of 10% or greater due to illness OR there are an unusual amount of individuals with similar symptoms, report to AHS Coordinated Early Identification Response (CEIR) team at 1-844-343-0971, regardless of the school’s participation in Alberta Real Time Syndromic Surveillance Network (ARTSSN).

In addition, when school authorities are reporting absences to CEIR we ask that they also send an email notification to educationcovidguidance@gov.ab.ca with the name of the school, the school authority and absence rate.

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